Save the Children inaugurates the first “Lactawawitas”
These are spaces for the promotion and protection of breastfeeding at the national level that will benefit Peruvian and migrant mothers.
Save the Children is concerned about the rights of children and in particular about the right to good nutrition, health and survival of children and adolescents. Along these lines, it is important to remember the great benefits that breastfeeding and healthy eating bring, not only for babies at home, but also for moms and dads, who must also have a safe space to accompany the mother in this work.
Breast milk is the only food that ensures the brain development of children and prevents various diseases. In addition, the act of breastfeeding provides emotional security for the baby. In the mother it reduces the risk of breast cancer and favors the mother-child bond. In the last 5 years, the percentage of children under 6 months who were breastfed has changed. According to ENDES, in the first quarter of 2021, 63.4% of children under 6 months were breastfed, that is, a reduction of 5.1 percentage points was reported compared to 2020.
This trend represents a threat to the right to health of boys and girls, while breastfeeding prevents infant mortality, reduces the risk of disease and promotes cognitive development.
On the other hand, the INEI indicated that, in 2020 at the national level, the prevalence of anemia in the population from 6 to 35 months of age was 40%, registering a higher proportion in rural areas (48%) than in urban areas. urban (37%). Likewise, inadequate practices of maternal nutrition of infants in a context of migration crisis are also a potential threat to the development of children, especially when talking about breastfeeding.
Faced with this complicated panorama, Save the Children, with the support of BHA/USAID, inaugurated the first “Lactawawita” at the “El Buen Samaritano” shelter, located in Piura, at the beginning of May. It is a safe and friendly space that seeks to protect and promote the practice of breastfeeding, both in the Venezuelan community and in the Peruvian community. These spaces are very significant for migrant families with young children, since they have to adapt their children’s diet to the products that are generated in the country.
The “Lactawawitas” will be located in health establishments, district municipalities, shelters, social organizations and parishes. In addition to being spaces to breastfeed and change babies, mothers and fathers will be able to receive nutritional counseling, support kits for newborns and they will have toy libraries.
The “Lactawawita” implemented in Lima is the first of more than 20 that will open its doors in different regions of the country. Thus, Save the Children reaffirms the importance of promoting breastfeeding and a safe space for feeding babies and children under 5 years of age, as well as contributing to the reduction of the high levels of malnutrition in Peru.
During the first semester of 2022, 28 “Lactawawitas” will be implemented: 6 in Lambayeque, 8 in Lima, 5 in Arequipa, 5 in Piura and 4 in La Libertad. To date, a dozen “Lactawawitas” have already been opened in Piura, Arequipa, Lima and Lambayeque. These were implemented in shelters, Diris Lima Centro premises, health establishments, among others, during the first days of May.
Under the slogan “Breastfeeding saves lives”, Milagros O’Diana, project manager, explains that these spaces seek to promote breastfeeding to save the lives of children from migrant families and the host community, especially after the first hours of birth. In addition to providing an adequate environment for the practice of breastfeeding, these public spaces seek to make visible its importance in reducing the rates of malnutrition and anemia in the country. “Today we renew our commitment to breastfeeding as a participatory practice of the entire family environment, civil society and the authorities so that it ceases to be an action that only corresponds to the mother,” he said.
These spaces are developed as part of the ´Families without borders´ project, implemented by Save the Children with the support of BHA/USAID in response to the Venezuelan migration crisis, seeking to ensure that the urgent needs of this population are met, as well as to promote healthy nutritional practices and access to quality health services for pregnant and lactating women, children under six years of age, and Venezuelan and Peruvian migrant adolescents.
According to the Peruvian Journal of Experimental Medicine and Public Health, during the migratory journey, between 47% and 58% of children under two years of age increased the frequency of breastfeeding. However, the minimum feeding frequency was reached by less than 20%.